MASON CITY, Iowa – In September, Sten Joddi from Mason City wanted people to know he felt where the Bakken Access Pipeline was being built was not OK. He led a peaceful protest in Central Park to have his voice heard.
“I feel that when I was up there doing that, I think the information part of it, the knowledge is good for people around here that may not get both narratives,” Joddi said.
Like everyone else, he recently found out the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the construction of the pipeline.
“This is a victory, a huge accomplishment to show America that you can stand peacefully and things are noticed,” Joddi said.
He’s not alone in caring about what’s happening miles away. Many are protesting the construction in North Dakota because they feel the land is sacred to the Native American tribes there, along with a fear of contaminating the water.
“Said to myself just sitting here, hearing the information isn’t enough. It is not enough to sit by and share the post. I had to go there and be a part of it, do my contribution,” Shannon Gibbons from Mason City said.
Gibbons says she was there for a weekend, driving nine hours to be part of it all.
“There was a sense of unity. These are Native American tribes who have never come together in history. The energy, the environment, being there, it had seriousness to it but also had an underlining tone of unity, working together,” Gibbons said.
Both Gibbons and Joddi are happy to hear the news but worry this denied permit isn’t enough.
“Are the suppliers, the oil suppliers, going to cancel their contracts seeing more or less the writing on the wall that this is what’s going to happen if you continue to do these things?” Joddi questions.
Those building the pipeline have released a statement saying the decision made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is “political” and plan to keep building without rerouting.